Dogwatch – June 2019

 

Dogwatch Good Old Boat's Digital SupplementDogwatch (n): For sailors, either of the 2-hour watch periods between 1600 and 2000;
For journalists, the period after going to press when staff stand by in case breaking news warrants a late edition.
Volume 2, No.8


The Leap from Luddite

Dogwatch Feature Story, The Leap from Luddite

I acquired my first boat as a child, a red MFG 14-foot runabout with a stinky 35-hp Evinrude. She was slow, noisy, and not at all seaworthy. Within in a year, the red fiberglass turned to rose and the blush was gone. Many years later, my first true love arrived in the form of a powder-blue AMF Sunbird 16. She carried a jib and mainsail and offered a small cuddy to get out of the rain. She floated in 8 inches with the centerboard up and was an angel when it was down. I loved pulling her up on our Nissequogue, Long Island, beach to watch the osprey fly overhead and then to sail back into the Sound and head home after a long day.
Continue Reading …

 


News from the Helm Mail Buoy

News from the Helm

Too much water, Summer Sailstice, over a 100 years and 50 Transpacs, and cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey…
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Mail Buoy

Kudos for the May poem, pulsation solution, a better rum punch, and a bevy of Golden Globe Race opinions…
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Seaworthy Goods All Guard Teak Products

Put it to the Readers

By Michael Robertson

In 25 years of sailboat ownership, we’ve bought four electric-motor devices with corresponding circuitry, designed for use underwater. All four failed (prematurely) due to water intrusion. The first was a Rule bilge pump, the expensive automatic kind with the integrated water detector and switch. It failed after 2 weeks. Water had found its way inside and corroded the circuit board. Its same-model replacement failed within a year, same fate. We bought a Torqeedo Travel 1003 electric outboard motor new. We babied it. Within a year, water found its way inside the motor hub and destroyed the circuit board. The good folks at Torqeedo sent us a replacement lower unit. It eventually failed too, same reason.

Companies tout the waterproofness of their electronic devices (IP-61 Rated!) and it seems they really should have nailed waterproofness by now. We know of dive computers that just go and go without problems, but these units have the advantage of being completely sealed, no need for protruding wires or propellers. Are our experiences unique? Just bad luck?

And so I put it to the readers: What are your experiences with inadequate waterproofing of electronic products? Or what are your experiences with superior waterproofing, examples where you’ve used it hard and put it away wet and it just keeps going?

As always, I’m at michael_r@goodoldboat.com


New Good Old Boat Ball Cap Crawford Shade Awning

Book Reviews

Food Storage AboardClick the book title for our reviews of the following books:

Storing Food Without Refrigeration
by Carolyn Shearlock
(Blue River Press, 2019; 160 pages)
Review by Fiona McGlynn

Chapman Boating Etiquette
by Queene Hooper and Pat Piper
(Hearst, 2005; 144 pages)
Review by Jerry Thompson


Poem of the Month"Wooden

Zen and the Artistry of Sailing
A wooden boat on the wind arcs through the water, like the air that waved through her branches when she was once but only a sapling. Oaken timbers, shaped and carved into curves as fine as any maiden’s define her figure, sipping water to seal her seams and wed her form to its element. Suites of sails drape her spars, to become one with the wind itself. The lightest touch upon her tiller and the finest set of her sails yield the truest line, but as in life, it is futile to take on the wind directly. From a distance, she seems motionless on a lapis sea beneath a sapphire sky. And yet she skims her course, her wake a moving memory, in a dance that only the word “sail” may ever describe.

–Randy Cadenhead, a sailor from Atlanta, Georgia, is a sometime poet who fell in love with wooden sailboats during a stint in Seattle. He currently sails a Bristol condition Cape Dory 27 on Lake Lanier in Georgia, but has never forgotten the magic of “organic” sailing. He is the author of several poetry collections, most recently of The Funny Thing About a Poem: Poems to Ponder and Amuse (Amazon, January 2019).


Sailor of the Month

Sailor of the Month

Sue Jacobs is our Dogwatch Sailor of the Month. Here she is, bundled up prior to the arrival of spring, guiding Cirrus, the 1982 36-foot, 6-inch Nelson Marek Morgan she shares with her husband, Skip. The couple sails often out of Cove Marina in Norwalk, Connecticut. We’ve got to wonder if that’s a glass of warmed mulled wine she’s clutching in her left hand.

Nominate a sailor in your life by sending me a hi-res photo of them sailing. Maybe they’ll be chosen! As always, I’m at Michael_r@goodoldboat.com

–MR


 

 

Mail Buoy – June 2019

PULSATION SOLUTION?

Thanks for “The Empirical Battery Test” article (The Dogwatch, May 2019) and for the editor’s notes that followed it. I want to add that there is a solution to desulfating batteries, and to preventing sulfation in the first place. Pulsating-current battery conditioners are a too-well-kept secret. Every battery owner should have one and use it regularly on vehicle and boat batteries. A more expensive one will work on both 6V and 12V batteries. I use a PulseTech Xtreme Charge battery charger, but there are many reputable makers, including Noco and BatteryMinder.

–Jerry McIntire

Thanks for the endorsement, Jerry. We’ve had our share of battery-killing sulfation issues, and have learned to equalize regularly, but hadn’t heard of this too-well-kept-secret. We went straight to our source of everything-electronic knowledge, Good Old Boat Electronics Editor David Lynn, and shared your thoughts with him. David wrote, “There’s lots of controversy about battery pulsating devices. Some claim they work, while others say they don’t. I tried one on one battery on Nine of Cups (maybe 15 years ago?) and compared that battery with the other batteries, both in the same battery bank and in a second battery bank. After a year, I did a full 20-hour load test to compare the battery with the pulsating device on it to the batteries without. I found no discernible difference and I ended up tossing the device. I think Nigel Calder tested a pulsating-current battery conditioner for Practical Sailor, but I don’t remember what his conclusion was.” So, we next reached out to Darrell Nicholson, Editor of Practical Sailor. Darrell wrote, “We have not done anything that yielded conclusive results in the past 15 years. We did one brief 30-day test that showed some positive results, but the results were small and in the lab (under no load, I believe), and so would be difficult to correlate to real-life use on a boat.” Then Good Old Boat Contributing Editor Drew Frye pointed us to the Trojan battery website (trojanbattery.com/tech-support/faq/) where they are unequivocal: “We don’t recommend the use of desulfators or any other external device, as they tend to do more harm than good. No external device or chemicals need to be added to our products, only distilled water.” So that’s all the info we’ve been able to gather. We’re not refuting your assertion, but we do think it sounds like the jury (after a very long time) is still out on these things…and maybe they’re a secret for a reason? We welcome the feedback of readers on these devices (Michael_r@goodoldboat.com–Eds.


HAI-KUDOS?

Kudos to the writer of the Poem of the Month in the May issue of The Dogwatch, a Haiku it seems. Excellent visuals derived from it and restful. Thanks.

Rich Green

That would be Brian Bills, and here it is again:

Canvas sails billow
Keel cleaves cerulean swells
My soul is renewed


GOLDEN DAZY

I enjoyed The Dogwatch book review of Ron Holland’s autobiography. It mentioned Golden Dazy, a fast and able vessel that was an early success story for the Gougeon Brothers WEST System wood-epoxy construction technique. They built her in Bay City, Michigan, where my older boat, Baker’s Dozen, lives.

That boat was launched for her 52nd season in my care on May 13. The boat herself is 58 now and has a bit of Gougeon Brothers epoxy here and there. Always support the local folks especially when they are sailors!

–Chris Campbell, Traverse City, Michigan


A BETTER RUM PUNCH

Regarding your nautically rhyming way to remember how to make the perfect rum punch in the May issue of The Dogwatch:

One of sour
Two of sweet
Three of strong
Four of weak

That’s been my mantra for at least 40 years. But there are two more lines:

Five drops bitters and nutmeg spice
Serve well-chilled with lots of ice.

As for the E-15 boondoggle (“A Warning from BoatUS,” May 2019), I recently encountered an E-15 pump at a local Speedway filling station in Exton, PA. I had to read the fine print very carefully to understand what was going on.

Now, if you will excuse me, the sun is over the yardarm and a lime begs to be squeezed.

Tim Mueller


RACE OPINIONS

Last month, having covered the 2018 Golden Globe Race extensively on the Good Old Boat Facebook page, and having heard a lot of opinions there, we put to the readers a simple query: “In a few sentences only, how do you feel about the 2018 Golden Globe Race? Positive, negative, a mixture of both? Please explain. Or did you not follow this solo race of production good old boats around the world non-stop? And if not, why not?” To be clear, and we’ve said this repeatedly, we are fans of the spirit of this race. Unique in this day in age, it’s a race the average sailor, sailing a boat that might be in your marina, with a realistic budget and no “team of professionals,” can enter and win. That’s what we love. And we think this glorious race is marred by unnecessary rules that put lives in danger. And we’ll add one more thing: we aren’t racing sailors or sailors interested in sailboat racing, never have been…until this race of good old boats.

Dennis Foley’s contrarian stance piqued our interest, so we’ll give him the first word, and hopefully put him at ease…–Eds.

***

I did not enjoy the Golden Globe Race coverage. I mostly skipped over any of those articles, and I think it could be the beginning of the end of Good Old Boat as we knew it. I don’t believe covering races like this, even though they are raced in old boats, is helpful to those of us who read it as being different from other magazines. I don’t think the articles actually apply to us. I didn’t look, but I assume that some of the other magazines covered it in some way. Why should I read yours if that’s where you’re going?

I am overstating the case, of course, there is still plenty of excellent content, but I do worry that you’ll end up like the rest.

–Dennis Foley

Robin Knox Johnson
Sir Robin Knox Johnson looks at history.
Photo courtesy of BIll Rowntree/PPL

End up like the rest? Yikes, what an awful thought. Rest assured it will never come to pass. All of us here are dedicated to keeping this the most relevant sailing magazine published in North America. Of course, that begs the question you also alluded to, What’s relevant? First, the coverage we were referring to in our question was all on Facebook, the play-by-play over the past year. In Good Old Boat magazine, our coverage of the race was very limited, two feature articles. In the July 2018 issue, Fiona McGlynn anchored a story about the race, accompanied by circumnavigators Jeanne Socrates and Laura Dekker. This was a general interest story from the world of sailing that we loved, but we accept the argument that its relevance was limited. But the next feature, in the January 2019 issue, by Fiona McGlynn and Barry Pickthall, was about the modifications made to two old production sailboats that would allow them to withstand the rigors of months of non-stop sailing in the Southern Ocean. We think this analysis should be relevant to every good old boat owner. In a sense, this race was the ultimate test of good old boat failure points.

Regardless, we’re faced with the Herculean task of ensuring relevance to a wide swath of good old boaters in every issue, whether they sail 16-foot trailerable catboats or 40-foot keelboat cruisers. Whether they sail a multihull or a monohull. We hope you’ll appreciate that two features (and a couple editorials) constitutes a very limited amount of coverage of this race.

End up like the rest? We’ll be the first one out the door the day we fill our pages with ads from charter companies and Rolex or put a brand-new million-dollar sailboat on the cover.

–Eds.

I enjoyed your coverage of the race on Facebook. It was a convenient way to keep up and, even though I am a casual sailor, I was interested in the race. It is more applicable to everyday sailors than the America’s Cup and its billion-dollar budgets! Keep it up!

–Tony, a Cal 27 sailor

Golden Globe Race
Golden Globe Start
photo credit: Tim Bishop/PPL/GGR

I concur with the specific criticisms of the racing rules as to the limited access for the contestants. Your thoughts echo mine from when I first read a piece on this race. There is nothing wrong with being safer by using technology to watch the weather and have at-will communications.

–Bill Martz

I followed with interest, just to see if modern-day sailors (who are aware of advance technology) would tough it out without that technology. It’s one thing to sail solo in the 60’s in a “modern” boat with “current” technology (as they did in their day) vs. going “primitive” for that sake alone, knowing that technology could and would bail you out if necessary. When the going gets tough are they likely to throw in the towel or (as in first race) tough it out because they had to? The race would be more interesting if it was based on good old boats with whatever added modern technology is available. Now we’re competing old boat designs (not foiling hulls!), sailor against nature, in the best designs of their day.

–Bert Vermeer, Natasha, Sidney, British Columbia

I’m pleased you covered the race. I’m also appalled at the (possibly preventable) carnage which marked it. I’m baffled that anybody would wish to undertake that challenge as well. To my mind the Roaring Forties are no place for out-of-date gear. I love those Rustlers, but geez, really? If there is a place which make the motto ” there is safety in speed” real, that’s it! Thanks for the coverage!

–Erik Williams, Antares, 1984 Moody 34, Rock Hall, Maryland

Thanks Erik. We mostly agree with you, but just don’t buy the “slow is dangerous” argument. (But let it be said that we’ve plenty of expert sailing friends who share your sentiment.) Our take is that speed is indeed necessary to out-run storms, but that speed is not required to avoid them, only advance knowledge of storm system location and movement is necessary (and that’s what the 2018 GGR racers were needlessly denied). Hundreds of slow cruising boats have safely sailed oceans for decades, avoiding the deadly stuff because they had the knowledge necessary to do so. –Eds.

My view of the race is that it seems silly to not use some benefits of modern technology. But, in the end, these people are all adults who know the game that they are about to take part in. Some people just need to go out on the limb further than others. I’m not one of them.

Doug Sawatzky

Thanks Doug. We also support the right of adult sailors to enter this or any race, however loco the rules, no problem. But our argument is that by taking away the ability of these racers to receive the weather data and be their own weather routers, turns this race into a game of chance in the Southern Ocean, as it was in 1968. All well and good, but we’d prefer a race with an outcome that more directly reflected the skill and decisionmaking of the racers. –Eds.

Istvan Kopar
Istvan Kopar
Photo by Christophe Favreau/PPL/GGR

My $0.02. Keep covering the race. Those who are uninterested or not supportive can skip the article; those of us who enjoy it and are interested appreciate your coverage.

Erik Stavrand

First, regarding Facebook: 1) I won’t use it, 2) I won’t use Facebook’s other data-stealing products, such as Whatsapp, 3) I’m not excited with organizations that knowingly expose me to data intrusion by using it.

My own boat owners association cares so little about my personal data security, they use Facebook. Sort of like using a known child molester to babysit your kid, or a known Kleptomaniac as your accountant, because they are “free.”

Back to the race. On occasion I look at info about the people or the boats (never on Facebook). But I am not a racing sailor. I am with you on safety. And as someone raised in the USA and the child of immigrants, I rebel and am aggravated by intrusive agencies and rules, telling me what I must do. The idea that a race committee would tell me I could not refer to online weather, utterly confounds me. Storms go bad and wipe out races; I am old and the 1979 Fastnet comes to mind.

But a lot of folks want to watch the race unfold, no matter how irrational the rules. I wish them the best.

Jonathan Wexler

Thanks Jonathan. Just a quick note about Facebook. It’s easy to derive the spoils of the platform without subjecting yourself to the intrusiveness. You don’t have to have a Facebook profile (we’re certain you don’t) to access the Good Old Boat Facebook page, or others. Without a profile, it’s just like visiting any other website. –Eds.

I am one of the few that has a small digital footprint, no social media accounts or even a smart phone. I followed the race on the internet and would love to have seen the good old boat commentary.

John Askitis

Hi John, our comment to the letter above applies to you as well. –Eds.

I was fascinated by the GGR of 2018. I checked in on progress every morning and every evening. My buddies and I made martini bets on outcomes along the way, providing a side benefit of get-togethers for pay-off.

Two things are crystal clear to me: (1) The original feat by Sir Robin Knox Johnston in 1968 was a monumental achievement, and (2) the evolution of sailing sails, materials, self-steering, and knowledge of the world’s waters and weather over the past 50 years have made it so that the challenge is no longer beating Sir Robin Knox Johnson’s time, not even on his own terms. Rather, it’s all about using the same type of boats and navigational technology to test the skills of individual sailors in racing around the world.

While retaining the boat characteristics and the navigational science of the era, it makes sense to me that the sailors should be able to access modern weather information. The challenge should be defined as having a boat =< 36 feet LOA, a solo sailor, non-stop, without GPS or electronic steering. That’s enough to make an extremely challenging and highly interesting global race, still in the spirit of Sir Robin Knox Johnson.

Woody Norwood, Beaufort, South Carolina

Mark SInclair
Mark Sinclair
Photo by Christophe Favreau/PPL/GGR

Keep on following it and recognize the challenges that face these participants. Makes very interesting reading and, although you may not agree with some things the race organizers do, by staying engaged, we have the opportunity to influence future changes.

Ralph Kimball.

I have mixed views about the Golden Globe, for reasons you and John at Attainable Adventure Cruising have expressed.

–Terry Thatcher

To be blunt, I have not followed any of these blue-water races in quite a while. I have no personal desire to do that sort of sailing (too old and feeble at this point.). The Golden Globe turns me off with its many restrictions as well. Technology is here, so why not use it? Should they restrict participants to a strict diet of only burgoo? Yes, safety first.

–Steve Mitchell (selling my 1988 Pearson 33 because my reliable crew is older and sicker than I am. Alas seems no one wants a 30-year-old boat these days.)

I’ve mixed feelings. I’m happy it exists and Harkens (See what I did there? Sailing pun!) back to “the good old days” of sailing, where things were basic and you relied on your skills, courage, and intuition. But I do see the sensibility of updating the rules to allow for the use of modern resources.

And never apologize for your coverage approach. Smart people will see it as balanced.

–Brad Brenner

I followed the race closely, and loved the idea from the start. Like you, however, I think some of the rules added to the danger. But what do I know? I also think racing old cars is fun, but I’d wear a modern helmet, update the brakes, and ensure the gas tank was safe.

Keep up the good work!

–Brian Schuyler


CONTINUE READING THIS MONTH’S DOGWATCH

The Leap from Luddite

By Howard Nelson

I acquired my first boat as a child, a red MFG 14-foot runabout with a stinky 35-hp Evinrude. She was slow, noisy, and not at all seaworthy. Within in a year, the red fiberglass turned to rose and the blush was gone. Many years later, my first true love arrived in the form of a powder-blue AMF Sunbird 16. She carried a jib and mainsail and offered a small cuddy to get out of the rain. She floated in 8 inches with the centerboard up and was an angel when it was down. I loved pulling her up on our Nissequogue, Long Island, beach to watch the osprey fly overhead and then to sail back into the Sound and head home after a long day.

I was inflicted with that which has defied cure since a boy first floated a stick in a pond. There’s only one treatment, another sailboat. Years later I spotted an ad in the local paper for Chanty, an Ingera 23. She was of uncertain pedigree and a dubious past, fallout from a family quarrel, and for a pittance she was mine, complete with a real cabin, leaky ports, rotted hoses, an undependable outboard, and a serviceable set of sails. Together, we sailed almost every weekend, in and out of Huntington Bay and into the Sound. Each day’s outing was a joy. When grounded at low tide, which was often, it was time to take out a book and a beer until the water lifted us again.

As the years passed, I caught big-itis and found more nautical joy in My Pleasure, a Hunter 27. Then came Avalon, a Hunter 30. As my nautical mistresses grew, so did their complexity. Sailing became a coordination of systems and interfaces and schedules. Each year, despite time getting harder to find and costs growing, the joy of a day on the water still justified it all. Sometimes it was enough just to take the Sunday paper in the cockpit while the gulls and cormorants flew above. But when the wind was up, so were the sails.

What became of Avalon? She was lost from her mooring in a nasty northeaster. Then a job change and a relocation followed and sailing took a backseat in my life.

Here I am now in Mississippi, far from the sounds and feelings of sailing because that’s where life has taken me. I’m not young enough to go back or old enough to pack it in. I move forward. Sitting in my favorite chair, recalling the clink of a winch is music to my mind. I love the crack of a Dacron sailcloth in the wind, and the run of a nylon cord through my hands is like a mermaid’s song.

Cleaning out the attic I came across two large boxes of my Good Old Boat magazines, all the way back to the first issue. Each issue spoke to me in some way, but I can’t justify moving the boxes again and, in a not-so-distant future, I won’t be able to even lift them. Because there were no takers, I packed them up and consigned them to the refuse heap. To be honest, there was a tear or two.

I’m a Luddite. I loved to turn the pages of past issues of Good Old Boat because they are like home, a friend. I will continue to be loyal to our mutual cause, sailing for the rest of us, even if it is, for now, in my mind.

I loved to sail because it was slow, except when it wasn’t. Sailing was quiet, except when the wind howled. Sailing was without complexity, except when I sought it.

If I could remove the modernity that gets in the way of the pure joy of the boat, the wind, the sail, and even your magazine, I would (though that might make it hard to get home against the wind and tide).

It’s probably time to break ranks with my fellow Luddites and acquire the back copies of Good Old Boat in digital form. It won’t replace a day on the water or the slick pages I loved to turn, but at least I can still dream, even if I need an iPad to do so.

Howard Nelson was born and raised on the north shore of Long Island, New York. He Spent summers canoeing on the Nissequogue River and swimming in the Sound. Two of his adult kids love sailing, two not so much.. For the time being, Howard’s an arm chair sailor, but he has lake sailing on his mind…

 


CONTINUE READING THIS MONTH’S DOGWATCH


 

News from the Helm – June 2019

By Michael Robertson

TOO MUCH WATER

Heard about all the high-water flooding affecting the Heartland? Reader Robert Mackay sails out of the Highland Yacht Club in Toronto, Ontario, where they’ve got plenty of water too. Apparently, no sailors are happy about this and there is no word on when the water will recede. As if they don’t already have a short sailing season, eh? In the photo below, that’s a dock on the port side of this sailboat.


NAUTICAL TRIVIA

If you’ve lived long enough, you’ve learned or realized that most of the well-worn expressions in English originate from the worlds of either Shakespeare or sailing. At least that was our understanding.

Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.

We thought we knew that this expression was from the world of sailing (definitely not Shakespeare). The monkey was a ring or tray on which cannonballs were stacked in a pyramid next to a cannon, aboard a ship; the monkey kept them from rolling away. The monkey was made of brass so that it didn’t rust sitting on the damp wood deck. But brass contracts rapidly in the cold, more so than iron cannonballs, and thus, when cold enough to freeze, off the brass monkey the cannonballs would roll.

Apparently, this might not be true.

According to grammar-monster.com, this theory is discredited by the US Department of the Navy and the etymologist Michael Quinion and the OED’s AskOxford website:

  • The Oxford English Dictionary does not record the term monkey or brass monkey being used in this way.
  • The purported method of storage of cannonballs (round shot) is simply false. Shot was not stored on deck continuously on the off-chance that the ship might go into battle. Indeed, decks were kept as clear as possible.
  • Such a method of storage would result in shot rolling around on deck and causing a hazard in high seas. Shot was stored on the gun or spar decks, in shot racks (longitudinal wooden planks with holes bored into them, known as shot garlands in the Royal Navy), into which round shot were inserted for ready use by the gun crew.
  • Shot was not left exposed to the elements where it could rust. Such rust could lead to the ball not flying true or jamming in the barrel and exploding the gun. Indeed, gunners would attempt to remove as many imperfections as possible from the surfaces of balls.
  • The physics do not stand up to scrutiny. All the balls would contract equally, and the contraction of both balls and plate over the range of temperatures involved would not be particularly large. The effect claimed possibly could be reproduced under laboratory conditions with objects engineered to a high precision for this purpose, but it is unlikely it would ever have occurred in real life aboard a warship.

There you have it, makes sense to us. Now you’re smarter than when you started reading The Dogwatch.


5 DECADES OF TRANSPAC

Dorade racing in the 1936 Transpac

In mid-July, the 50th running of the Transpacific Yacht Race (commonly known as the Transpac) will kick off from Long Beach, California, and finish in Honolulu, Hawaii. Here is an excerpt of the fascinating origins of this race that started in 1906:

“The originator of Transpacific Yacht racing, the late Clarence MacFarlane of Honolulu, corresponded with yachtsmen of San Francisco and Los Angeles prior to 1906 and succeeded in interesting several mainland yachtsmen in a race to Honolulu. On April 14, 1906, he sailed his 48-foot schooner, La Paloma, from Honolulu to San Francisco to join them in a race back to Waikiki. However, he arrived 27 days after the “Great Earthquake” to find the idea of a race from the Golden Gate out of the question. At the suggestion of H.H. Sinclair, he sailed to Los Angeles to join the Lurline and the Anemone for the first Honolulu Race which started from San Pedro on June 11, 1906. Since that memorable date, there have been 44 Honolulu Races; of these, 39 have started from San Pedro, two from Santa Barbara, and one from Balboa, San Francisco, and Santa Monica. This biennial race has proved to be one of the most popular sailing events in the world.”

Good Old Boat is a Summer Sailstice sponsor! Can you find our logo? Click for a larger image.

To continue reading, visit
2019.transpacyc.com/history/article/the-origins-of-the-transpac-race


SIGN UP, SHOW UP, SAILS UP

Summer Sailstice! June 22, 2019: it’s the global celebration of sailing. Founded in 2001 by Latitude 38 publisher John Arndt, Summer Sailstice is a free sailing event held every year on the weekend closest to summer solstice. Nearly 19,000 sailors signed up and participated last year and the mission of the event is: “Host a spectacular weekend uniting and bonding a critical mass of sailors worldwide in a common, publicly visible, inspiring event to demonstrate and celebrate sailing resulting in a significant, positive impact on participation. And, like sailing, have fun doing it!”

And there are contests too. It’s worth learning more at summersailstice.com


CONTINUE READING THIS MONTH’S DOGWATCH

Storing Food Without Refrigeration

by Carolyn Shearlock
(Blue River Press, 2019; 160 pages)

Review by Fiona McGlynn

On day 20 of a Pacific Ocean crossing, having long-since raided the fresh-food stores, my husband and I were subsisting on cans of chicken and “vegetable medley.” I know now that if I’d read Storing Food without Refrigeration before departure, I might have saved myself some heart ache (and heart burn!).

Continue reading

Chapman Boating Etiquette

by Queene Hooper and Pat Piper
(Hearst, 2005; 144 pages)

Review by Jerry Thompson

Have you ever heard the machine-gun rat-a-tat of halyards slapping masts? I have, quite often in my marina and marinas I visit. It occurred to me that some folks are oblivious to the need to quiet their halyards. And it may not be their fault. After all, who teaches sailors about the need to take steps to make sure their halyards do not constantly bang and clang in a breeze? Where is it written that thou shall not allow ones halyards to disturb thy neighbors? The offenders may not even realize the unpleasantness caused as they may not be aboard when a blow comes through causing the disturbing cacophony of noise.

Continue reading

Dogwatch – May 2019

Dogwatch Good Old Boat's Digital SupplementDogwatch (n): For sailors, either of the 2-hour watch periods
between 1600 and 2000;
For journalists, the period after going to press when staff stand by in case breaking news warrants a late edition.
Volume 2, No.7


The Empirical Battery Test

battery test

When they were new, the four Rayovac 6-volt golf-cart (GC2) batteries on Phantom, our Pearson 365 ketch, had plenty of electrical capacity to provide all the power we needed to go three or more days between recharging, perfect for the kind of local cruising we enjoy. As the batteries reached the 5-year-old mark, I wondered whether they still had what it takes, especially given that our need for power consumption is probably greater than it was a half decade ago. How could I determine their capacity from a fully charged state?
Continue Reading …


News from the Helm Mail Buoy

News from the Helm

We’re not impressed with the new ASA initiative, we deliver a warning from BoatUS, and know your rum punch.
Continue reading …

Mail Buoy

Kudos for the April poem, winch socket confusion straightened out, and we may be closer to identifying the big-pharma boat.
Continue reading


Seaworthy Goods All Guard Teak Products

Put it to the Readers

By Michael Robertson

For the past year, Good Old Boat has used its Facebook page (facebook.com/goodoldboat) to cover the 2018 Golden Globe Race as it unfolded. We’ve gotten plenty of heat from Facebook followers who think we’re too supportive of the race, and heat from those who don’t appreciate how we’ve criticized the race. To be clear, we love the concept of this race and have enjoyed following along (it hasn’t lacked for drama), but we aren’t fans of the execution (we think some of the rules, especially the prohibiting of racers from accessing visual weather forecasts, are needlessly dangerous and remove autonomy from the racers), and we’re disappointed that some of our concerns will not be relieved by any changes to the race rules for the 2020 race.

And so I put it to the readers (because we know how the Facebook followers feel, and we suspect that there is overlap, but that a lot of The Dogwatch readers are not our Facebook followers): In a few sentences only, how do you feel about the 2018 Golden Globe Race? Positive, negative, a mixture of both? Please explain. Or did you not follow this solo race of production good old boats around the world non-stop? And if not, why not?

As always, I’m at michael_r@goodoldboat.com


New Good Old Boat Ball Cap Crawford Shade Awning

Book Reviews

John Rae, Artic ExplorerClick the book title for our reviews of the following books:

John Rae, Arctic Explorer: The Unfinished Autobiography
by John Rae, edited by William Barr
(University of Alberta Press, 2018; 648 pages)
Review by Brian Fagan

All the Oceans: Designing by the seat of my pants, a memoir
by Ron Holland
(Ron Holland Design, 2018; 350 pages)
Review by Rob Mazza


Poem of the Month

Poem May 2019

The author said that he’s been waiting for his muse to arrive in port. She finally showed up and this haiku was born. The photo is courtesy of James Hamlin, and is of Lorelei, a 1977 Nautilus 36 pilothouse, here on a breezy reach on Long Island Sound with the skyline of Manhattan in the background. –MR

Canvas sails billow
Keel cleaves cerulean swells
My soul is renewed

–Brian Bills, a retired Army veteran, truck driver, sailor and fledgling writer, came to sailing late in life when he moved from Utah to Southern Maryland in 2008. Starting with a 22-foot wooden daysailer he bought on eBay for $1.60, Brian has gone on to refurbish and sail several boats. When he is not hauling freight around the country, he plies the waters of the Chesapeake inYellow Fever, a San Juan 24, and has his eye firmly set on an imminent retirement so that he can move up to a larger boat and begin logging his own bluewater adventures.


Sailor of the Month

Sailor of the Month

Joy Sherman is our Dogwatch Sailor of the Month. Joy can normally be found sailing Pure Joy, her 1987 Catalina 36, but here she’s enjoying a fall sail (and the company of Scupper the Boat Dog) aboard a friend’s 1970s-vintage Bristol 40 near Rhode Island’s Block Island.

Nominate a sailor in your life by sending me a hi-res photo of them sailing. Maybe they’ll be chosen! As always, I’m at Michael_r@goodoldboat.com

–MR


 



The Empirical Battery Test

By Jim Shell

When they were new, the four Rayovac 6-volt golf-cart (GC2) batteries on Phantom, our Pearson 365 ketch, had plenty of electrical capacity to provide all the power we needed to go three or more days between recharging, perfect for the kind of local cruising we enjoy. As the batteries reached the 5-year-old mark, I wondered whether they still had what it takes, especially given that our need for power consumption is probably greater than it was a half decade ago. How could I determine their capacity from a fully charged state?

The guy at the battery store told me to bring them in. “We can simulate the quick load from an engine starter and measure the cold-cranking amps and the internal resistance. But, frankly, you’re better off replacing them as five years is about the limit on how long these batteries last.”

I thanked him and left. I knew enough to know that his test was relevant for measuring the health of a car battery (by simulating the starting demands placed on it), but not so relevant to measuring the health of my house bank. The electrical demands placed on my house bank are very different.

I needed something that would tell me whether our batteries retained enough capacity to keep up with our electrical demands during the 2- to 3-day cruises (unplugged) we enjoy taking during the season. What I really needed was a sustained-load test over a 20-hour period. This kind of test would accurately measure my battery bank’s capacity. But these batteries are too heavy to lug around to be tested!

Then I came up with the idea of performing a “real-life” load test at the dock. It wouldn’t be the standardized controlled 20-hour load test, but I would unplug for 40 hours and over that time period, place the same loads on the batteries as we would during life at anchor — a custom capacity test, if you will. This was designed to replicate our usage, which, as empirical data, I think is more relevant than an estimate we’d derive from some capacity value, however precise.

The batteries were fully charged when I unplugged them. I noted the open-circuit voltage at that time as 12.8 volts (fully charged). An hour later, without my putting any load on the batteries, the voltage had dropped to 12.58 volts (87 percent of full charge). This “resting open-circuit voltage” measurement is a more accurate reflection of the batteries’ state (and general health) than the 12.8-volt measurement I got right after unplugging.*

I then began re-creating the electrical loads we’d place on Phantom during life at anchor, using refrigeration, the propane solenoid, lights, VHF radio, microwave (via an invertor), and fans as normal. My goal was to determine the battery-voltage drop over 40-plus hours under expected normal loads, and then extrapolate from this number to estimate the expected drop after 64 hours (closer to the amount of time we might normally spend unplugged). I wasn’t trying to quantify the capacity of the battery, but simply determine whether the capacity would be sufficient.

After 41 hours of imposing real-life loads, and with a trickle of charging power coming during daylight hours from our 20W solar panel, the house bank voltage measured 12.31 volts, approximately 66 percent of full charge. The slow, even discharge rate recorded indicates the batteries have good electrical capacity for our purposes. I can extrapolate that another 24 hours of use would drop the voltage another 12 to15 percent, to around 50 percent of full charge (about as low as we’d want to discharge, for the sake of battery longevity). We will do this custom capacity test as part of our yearly maintenance regimen. This is a stress test that truly indicates whether the batteries are good enough for our intended use. Batteries will not last forever, but with this test in our arsenal, we will neither go on cruises with inadequate batteries nor replace good batteries prematurely.

Jim Shell and his wife, Barbara, sail Phantom, their Pearson 365 ketch, off the coast of Texas.

* Editor’s footnote: One hour is probably not a long-enough resting period to get an accurate measurement of a battery’s open-circuit voltage. Battery manufacturer LifeLine recommends a four-hour resting period for an accurate voltage measurement. Trojan recommends six hours. Additionally, when measuring resting open-circuit voltage, it’s important to be sure there is no draw (or charge, in the case of solar panels) on the batteries. The best way to insure this is to disconnect at least one set of battery cables, but this can be avoided if the batteries are isolated.

Additionally, the values in this article, and in the accompanying voltage chart from Trojan, are accurate only for new batteries. A battery that has been in service for a few years is likely unable to maintain these voltages, and so they are not representative. Jim learned empirically that the voltage of his fully charged battery is somewhere south of 12.58 volts, for example. Further complicating things is the fact that older batteries are likely to suffer to some degree from sulfation on the plates. One characteristic of sulfation is that the open-circuit voltage may appear pretty good, not reflecting even severely diminished capacity that sulfation can cause. For this reason, Jim’s patient approach to determining that his batteries do have the capacity to meet his needs, is smart. And not drawing them down more than 50 percent is a practice that should help them outlive expectations. –Eds.

 


CONTINUE READING THIS MONTH’S DOGWATCH


 

News from the Helm – May 2019

By Michael Robertson

Sleepy Women Sailors? 

Oh boy. This one is not going to be easy to tackle and dissect. First, we have the utmost respect for the American Sailing Association (ASA). They’ve been around since 1983 and more than half-a-million people have completed their training through their schools, clubs, or programs. We share their interest in spreading the gospel of sailing, obviously.

Now the ASA wants to get more women out on the water and has created a special education campaign towards that goal. We also share the ASA’s goal to get more women sailing, in the hope that one day there is parity and we can no longer safely bet that a given boat’s owner and captain is a guy.

But we think this ASA initiative, while perhaps good in intent and better than nothing, is kind of silly. We don’t think it has much promise. The ASA is not a federal government bureaucracy, yet this initiative resembles some stale approach to this problem that some tired committee put together, checking box after box until they could report they’d completed the task. The ASA should be free to let loose and come up with a fun, inspiring program to pique the interest of non-sailing women, something that might even grab general media attention, not just select boating magazine editors who find the ASA emailed press release in their inboxes. The ASA should do better.

Here’s the headline:

American Sailing Association Launches “Women Wake Up Zone” to Celebrate Women on the Water and Encourage More Women to Sail

“Women Wake Up Zone,” seriously? What kind of name is that? It tells us nothing. We get the “wake zone” nautical reference, but it’s not a nautical reference generally associated with sailboats.

Let’s continue:

Los Angeles (March 21, 2019) The American Sailing Association (ASA), America’s sail education authority, is energizing women to set sail with the announcement of its new education campaign: “Women Wake Up Zone.” As US corporations, politics and the entertainment industry evolve to include greater numbers of women, the sailing industry is riding the wave of gender equality, as well. With International Women’s Day earlier this month, as well as March being designated as Women’s History Month, the world’s largest sailing organization chose March 2019 to embark upon a crusade to bring more women into sailing.

Are those Me Too movement references? And is it true that, “the sailing industry is riding the wave of gender equality?” Well, the ASA is led by a woman, and both Good Old Boat and Cruising World magazines have women publishers at the helm (and 37% of Good Old Boat’s masthead is women, 46% at Cruising World). But as the ASA points out later in its press release, men outnumber women seven to one as registered boat owners. That number belies any assertion that the sailing industry is riding any wave of gender equality. (Though we also wonder how that number might be misleading as it might mischaracterize couples who may be equally involved in the family sailing pursuit and boat ownership, but his name might be listed first on the registration or documentation, and thus counted as male-owned, or vice-versa.) But the point is, while we’ve seen lots of women on the docks and at the helms over the past few decades, our perception is that the ratio of men to women is still way over 50/50 and that there has not been any change we’ve perceived that indicates sailing is, “riding any kind of wave of gender equality.”

But all that aside, what is the ASA planning for their Women Wake Up Zone initiative to change things?

The American Sailing Association aims to lead gender equality in sailing with its “Women Wake Up Zone” education campaign. Designed to erase the stereotypes and eliminate the fear some women have that sailing is too expensive and physically demanding, the initiative aims to create more women sailors. Shabes added, “As we see more women take the wheel and thrive on our waterways, we believe that others will follow in their wake.”

Okay, we agree that women at the helm will beget women at the helm, but how to increase the number of women at the helm?

Classes. (Yes, classes!) Here’s what they’re going to cover:

  • Tie the knot – Knots can be tricky and intimidating, but women can be better at tying knots because their hands are often nimbler.
  • Raise a sail – Heavy sails that used to require major upper body strength have been replaced with lighter synthetic sails. In fact, men who often try to “muscle” the lines are at a disadvantage because now there are more efficient mechanisms and techniques.
  • Work the winch – Maneuver a modern two-speed winch, the device on a boat to pull in or let out wind.
  • Save someone – Learn the procedure to follow if someone falls off of a boat.
  • Take the helm – Use fingertip precision to steer and sail the course.

Besides the description of these classes seeming kind of absurd, and perhaps not written by a sailor, we think it’s a silly waste of resources. We don’t pretend to have all the answers (and neither do we have the resources that the ASA has). But we’d bet heavy on the inefficacy of this effort.

Our message to the ASA? Get your schools to host open houses for women-only sails, invite the woman anchor or reporter at the local news station out for a sail to publicize it. Reach out to women-only book clubs, inviting whole clubs out for a day of sailing, and give away copies of an ASA sailing title — along with information on how to pursue sailing if they enjoyed the experience. Boots on the ground and real tangible experiences are needed, not vague initiatives and uninspiring classes. Once you get women (people) out on the water and they have a positive experience, learning to “maneuver a modern two-speed winch, the device on a boat to pull in or let out wind” will take care of itself.

Finally, we are encouraged by a stat the ASA listed at the end of their press release: “In 2018, one third of all new students at the ASA schools nationwide were women, and the organization expects that by the year 2020, at least half of all new students will be women.”

We hope so.    Eds.


A Warning from BoatUS

The upcoming July issue of Good Old Boat magazine will feature an in-depth story on ethanol. This BoatUS press release also relates to ethanol, and what may lie ahead. Eds.

President Trump has officially moved to allow E15 (15 percent ethanol) gasoline sales year-round – a fuel prohibited for use in recreational boats and a decision that recreational boating groups say will needlessly put 142 million American boaters at risk. Protecting boaters at the gas pump is a new website with a series of photos of gas station pumps in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, that clearly shows the challenges boaters face with poor ethanol warning labels at the pump, resulting in a greater risk of misfueling.

The effort is from the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), which was recently shared in “Boating United” campaign that urges recreational boat owners to tweet their members of Congress to stop the expansion of the government-mandated fuel. Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) supports the effort and is urging recreational boaters to share the website with friends: https://spark.adobe.com/page/dYPx7SjouAr2k/

“The ethanol industry doesn’t want you to see these photos of gas pumps,” said BoatUS Manager of Government Affairs David Kennedy. “The confusion presented to consumers at the pump today is real. Putting the wrong fuel in your boat will likely void your engine’s warranty. We applaud NMMA for clearly showing the misfueling problem.”

E15 is currently banned for sale in many states by the Environmental Protection Agency during summer months over concerns that it contributes to smog on hot days. The push for more ethanol into the nation’s fuel supply is a result of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). When it was passed in 2005, RFS assumed that America’s use of gasoline would continue to grow. Since then, however, gasoline usage has not increased as forecast, which today forces more ethanol into each gallon of gas.

BoatUS has long had concerns over potential consumer misfueling with E15. Most recreational boaters refuel their vessels at roadside gas stations where pump-labeling requirements are minimal with just a small E15 orange warning label. The advocacy, services and safety group for recreational boaters is a member of Smarter Fuel Future, a coalition that aims to reform the RFS.


Nautical Trivia

Thirsty for a tasty rum punch but you’re not sure how to make one and you don’t have a recipe at hand? Okay, that scenario is probably unrealistic in today’s smartphone age, but it’s fun to be able to pull some things from your brain, so here’s a nautically rhyming way to remember how to make the perfect rum punch:

One of sour
Two of sweet
Three of strong
Four of weak

Of course, the sour, sweet, strong, and weak are generally lime, simple sugar syrup, rum, and water. Enjoy!


CONTINUE READING THIS MONTH’S DOGWATCH

Mail Buoy – May 2019

Background Popeye graphic from pngtree.com

APRIL’S POEM OF THE MONTH

Me thinks he watched too much Popeye as a child… I could imagine Olive sitting next to him on the beach!

–Daryl Clark

Great poem.

–Joe Taylor, New Orleans, Louisiana


NAME THE BIG-PHARMA BOAT

Last month, having received a few independent queries (and surprised by them) from Good Old Boat readers about the boat in the pharmaceutical ad (Pfizer, click here to watch), and then being unable to sleuth a response, I put it to the readers. Having zoomed in on screen shots and hunted for clues, I was surprisingly keen myself to learn what this thing was…

Bert Vermeer seems to have put the most time and effort into this query and may be on to something, so he gets the first word…Eds.

***

I’m going to bet that you received multiple copies of the attached New Zealand Trailer Yacht Ratings table. Note it lists “Farr 740 Sport Modified (T1105).” That boat is the right shape and size, although I could not find any specific photo of the identifier “T1105” on the cockpit coaming. The cockpit and deck are very similar in shape to the Farr 740, though the Farr 740 has a dark plexiglass window (?) around the front of the small cabin. Lifelines, winches, rudder, and cockpit hatch are all identical. I suspect it was probably a very limited modification to this line of trailerable boats.

To find this, I searched “T1105 sailboat” and received mostly Tartan results, but I dug further and found this ratings table, then searched for “Farr 740.” Hope this helps somewhat.

Bert Vermeer, s/v Natasha, Sidney, British Columbia

Hi Bert, it helps indeed, nice work. And no, you’re the only one who sent us this ratings table. We agree that the Farr 740 is nearly identical to the boat in the commercial. And that tinted window may actually be just paint, as seen on some MacGregors? But we looked at the Farr 740 more closely and learned that it’s a late-1970s design by Bruce Farr, of course, first built in 1980 by Sea Nymph Boats of New Zealand. According to Farr’s website, that company eventually became McDell Marine. Both companies are long gone.

The boat in the commercial appears new. Our theory is that this Farr-designed mold was sold to or recovered by another manufacturer (European?) and is produced today as what we see in the big-pharma commercial. Maybe Farr Design is unaware and is owed royalties?

We still don’t get the “T1105” designation that we see in the Kiwi ratings list you sent and on the coaming of the boat in the commercial. What is that?

Eds.

The obvious solution would be to contact the advertising department of the Pharm Company who will probably direct you to the producers of the ad. If I had some uncommitted time right now, I would try that myself.

Mike Montesinos, s/v Gypsy Spirit

Thanks, Mike. If you come by some uncommitted time, go for it, and let us know how it goes. We know we sound like a cynical grump, but there are two reasons we didn’t go down that path. First, of course, it’s more fun to open the discussion here. Second, yikes! It’s impossible to imagine a successful outcome from that approach. We imagine the identity of that boat is buried under so many layers of who-knows-what that we’d be pulling our hair out after half a day on the phone. And we think it’s a safe bet that the producer, should we ever reach her (at 0-dark-thirty because she’s probably in Europe), has no clue what kind of boat was provided by the company they hired to provide the boat. “No problem, can you tell us the name of that company?”

“I’m sorry, we can’t give out that information.”

Eds.

I too have tried to identify the “Eliquis” boat. I do not believe the boat to be a Tartan. I have owned several Tartans and am quite familiar with their boats since inception. I believe the boat to be European in design. I really like the lines and have been interested in the boat’s identification. Perhaps if all else fails, contact the maker of Eliquis, they may be so kind to identify the vessel…

–Dale, Tartan 3400


DREW SETS A SAILOR STRAIGHT

I have been doing it all wrong.

–Skip Jacobs, White Plains, New York


CONTINUE READING THIS MONTH’S DOGWATCH

John Rae, Arctic Explorer: The Unfinished Autobiography

by John Rae
edited by William Barr (University of Alberta Press, 2018; 648 pages)

Review by Brian Fagan

Orkney-born John Rae (1813-1893) acquired many of his survival skills and his toughness from an idyllic childhood. He became a surgeon for the Hudson Bay Company and soon thrived in the challenging environments of the far north. Over his lifelong association with the Company, he became known as a consummate northern traveler and acquired a remarkable knowledge of Inuit culture. It was Rae who first broke the news of the fate of the Franklin expedition and brought back artifacts from the sailors acquired by Inuit informants. This was his main claim to fame, but he has always remained in the historical background.

Continue reading

All the Oceans: Designing by the seat of my pants, a memoir

by Ron Holland
(Ron Holland Design, 2018; 350 pages)

Review by Rob Mazza

Anybody who lived through, and was part of, the extraordinary growth in offshore racing in the 1970s will be familiar with the name Ron Holland. He and his friend Doug Peterson, and later, German Frers, were the top independent designers of IOR offshore racing yachts in this New Age of Sail ushered by the new IOR rule in 1970. Indeed, Holland points out that these three designers accounted for 49 of the competitors in the 1979 Admirals’ Cup racing — 29 by Holland, 35 by Peterson, and 17 by Frers!

Continue reading

Dogwatch – April 2019

Dogwatch Good Old Boat's Digital SupplementDogwatch (n): For sailors, either of the 2-hour watch periods between 1600 and 2000;

For journalists, the period after going to press when staff stand by in case breaking news warrants a late edition.

Volume 2, No.6


Photos by the Singlehander

On-Deck Camera Mount

Singlehanded sailing and photography don’t always go together. Throw in some brisk wind, maybe a tender boat, perhaps no autopilot, and capturing the moments and scenes on camera can be a real challenge.

As a freelance writer for magazines, I’m often in need of good photos of specific subjects, and sometimes these photos can be captured only while under sail. Sometimes I’m sailing alone. Sometimes my hands or I need to be in the shot. I’m always thinking of solutions.

Continue Reading


News from the Helm Mail Buoy

News from the Helm

Earn a Good Old Boat hat, new builder sought for the almost-50-year-old Laser, nautical trivia for readers, and department of corrections.Continue reading …

Mail Buoy

PFD perspective objection, screens come alive, and readers weigh in on why food does taste better when on the water, salt or fresh.   Continue reading


Seaworthy Goods All Guard Teak Products

Identity this SailboatPut it to the Readers

By Michael Robertson

Apparently, there is a new prescription drug being advertised on TV (surprise!). The commercial for Eliquis (click here to watch:) is the typical pharma commercial, heavy on good-feeling lifestyle imagery. In the case of Eliquis, this means sailing on a lake with a backdrop that looks like paradise. Multiple readers have contacted us over a period of 5 months to ask if we knew what kind of sailboat was featured in the commercial. We’ve tried hard to figure it out.

At 00:33 in the video, the sail insignia is clearly shown and appears to be T1105. Then, at 00:38, we get a clear shot of the outside of the cockpit coaming and it appears to be some logo we can’t identify, then what looks like the Tartan logo followed by 1105. But none of that has allowed us to identify this roughly 24-footer with a small cabin and transom-hung rudder.

And so I put it to the readers: Can any of you identify this boat, definitively? And if you can, how did you do it? We scoured sailboatdata.com

As always, I’m at michael_r@goodoldboat.com

New Good Old Boat Ball Cap Crawford Shade Awning

Book Reviews

A Drop n the OceanClick the book title for our reviews of the following books:

Erebus: One Ship, Two Epic Voyages, and the Greatest Naval Mystery of All Time
by Michael Palin
(Greystone Books, 2018; 352 pages)
Review by Rob Mazza

Fun With Sailboats
by Peter Brennan
(Page Publishing, 2018; 152 pages).
Review by Chas. Hague


Poem of the Month

Poem April 2019The author said that he wrote this poem, “while sitting on Vilano Beach, Florida, watching a trawler fight its way through rough seas into St. Augustine, just after sunset. I first wondered what kind of idiot was out there in that, but I gained respect as I watched the vessel carefully pick its way in past the breakwater, often disappearing into the wave troughs.”

I sits and I sits
I sits and I thinks
And the waves
come tumbling in

With toes in the sand
A drink in my hand
The waves still
Come rolling in

The ships sail out
The ships sail in
And the waves
Keep meandering in

The sun goes down
The moon comes up
And the waves
Come crashing in

The buoys blink red
The buoys blink green
And the waves
Keep thundering in

The stars come out
The world goes dim
And the waves
Come steadily in

Everything changes
Nothing’s the same
And the waves
Don’t care

–John Fox, who owns a 29-foot Hunter (pictured) that is not yet seaworthy (not since he bought her). But summer sailing in Maine is on the near horizon, as just last weekend he fixed the engine exhaust elbow and reckons he’ll leave harbor and raise sails once he gets the parts he needs to reattach the transmission cable.

MR


Sailor of the Month

Sailor of the Month

Seventy-six-year-old sailor Jeanne Socrates is our Dogwatch Sailor of the Month. As we go to press, Jeanne is more than halfway finished with what will be her second solo non-stop circumnavigation aboard Nereida, her 2009 Najad 380. She is currently the oldest woman to solo circumnavigate non-stop. When she finishes this trip in roughly three months’ time, Jeanne will be the oldest person to have successfully completed a non-stop solo circumnavigation under sail. This photo is of Jeanne and yours truly, aboard Nereida a couple weeks before the 2012 start of her first non-stop solo circumnavigation. She’s as nice and down-to-earth as she is intrepid.

A sailor doesn’t have to (yet) be legendary to be a Dogwatch Sailor of the Month. Nominate a sailor in your life by sending me a hi-res photo of them sailing. Maybe they’ll be chosen! As always, I’m at Michael_r@goodoldboat.com

–MR


 

Erebus: One Ship, Two Epic Voyages, and the Greatest Naval Mystery of All Time

by Michael Palin
(Greystone Books, 2018; 352 pages)

Review by Rob Mazza

Most of us know Michael Palin from his days with Monty Python’s Flying Circus, but he has also produced several superb BBC travel documentaries. It was probably his fame from the former and involvement in the latter that led to his becoming President of the Royal Geographical Society, and then being asked to address the Athenaeum Club in London, being required to tell the story of one of their past members. Palin chose the renowned 19th Century British botanist Joseph Hooker (whose story Palin had first encountered during filming of one of his travel documentaries in Brazil).

Continue reading

Fun with Sailboats

by Peter Brennan
(Page Publishing, 2018; 152 pages)

Review by Chas. Hague

Peter Brennan has “wrung more salt water out of his socks than most of us have sailed over.” This memoir encompasses 10 voyages the author has made aboard his Pearson 30, Happy Times; on Mists of Avalon, a two-masted schooner out of South Carolina; on the Irish tall ships Asgard II and Thallassa; and on Anthie, a 1979 37-foot CSY. Aboard these varied vessels, Brennan takes us to varied places: Block Island Sound, the waters surrounding Ireland, across the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Isla Mujeres, and to Havana, Cuba.

Continue reading

Mail Buoy – April 2019

Forest fires raged around Kelowna, British Columbia, last year and during that time, Paul Skene captured this smoke-on-the-water-effect shot of a lone sailboat on Okanagan Lake.
Forest fires raged around Kelowna, British Columbia, last year and during that time, Paul Skene captured this smoke-on-the-water-effect shot of a lone sailboat on Okanagan Lake.

THUMBS DOWN FOR PFD PERSPECTIVE

I just have to comment on the most recent The Dogwatch Mail Buoy conversation about pictures of kids without PFDs (“Thumbs Up For Depicted PFD Use,” March 2019). I found the editorial response to Rob Hill’s letter quite unsettling, particularly these comments:

While we know that SOME kids (and adults) should be in life vests 100 percent of the time in SOME situations…”  (my emphasis added), and,

Continue reading

News from the Helm – April 2019

DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

Last month, we ran a letter from Hal Shanafield, his response to the question of renting vs. owning a sailboat. He referred to his experience at a yacht club and we erroneously printed the wrong name of the club. I’ll let Hal set the record straight:

“You inserted the word “International” into the name of the yacht club I mentioned. The club I wrote about was the American Yacht Club Berlin. It was formed in 1968 and was the successor to the Berlin American Yacht Club, which was formed soon after the American occupation of Berlin began in 1945. The BAYC was defunct well before the AYCB was formed. The AYCB was fundamentally a military club, although we did have a small percentage of members from other countries. When the occupation ended in 1994, the AYCB also ended its existence. Sometime later, the yacht club with the word International in its name was formed, although I don’t know much about that. It’s a little confusing, I admit, but I thought I should set the record straight.

“I noticed that you truncated my original comment, as is your right, of course, as editor. I guess I was being a little too naughty for a family magazine. I enjoy reading Good Old Boat and The Dogwatch, and look forward to each issue. I think you and your staff are doing a great job of putting out a sailing magazine for the rest of us.”


WKhaki ball cap with a Blue Denim bill.ANT TO EARN A GOOD OLD BOAT HAT?

Do you have a great photo of an aid to navigation? We want to see it. If we print it in the magazine, we’ll send you a Good Old Boat hat or shirt, your choice. And it doesn’t have to be a buoy, but certainly can be. The better the photo, or the more unique the aid or photo, the better your chances. Send your photo to Michael_r@goodoldboat.com


NEW LASER BUILDER NEEDED

Managers of the International Laser Class Association (ILCA) announced today they are seeking new builders to complement their existing network of Laser manufacturers. The move comes after longtime-builder of the class dinghy, Laser Performance (Europe) Limited (LPE), breached the terms of the Laser Construction Manual Agreement (LCMA), which seeks to ensure the identical nature of all Laser class boats, regardless of where they are built.

“We’re disappointed to see such a long and productive relationship come to an end, but we had to move ahead in order to protect the level of competition and the investment for the 14,000 members of the International Laser Class and the more than 50,000 sailors around the world who regularly sail the Laser dinghy,” said Class President Tracy Usher. With its UK-based manufacturing facility, LPE was the ILCA-approved builder that produced boats for most of Europe, Asia and the Americas until earlier this week, when Usher says the class terminated the LCMA with respect to LPE after the builder’s refusal to allow inspection of the boats being built in their manufacturing facility as required by that contract.

“The very heart of our class is the ability for any sailor to race any other on an equal playing field, and the only way we can guarantee that level of parity is by ensuring that all builders are producing the boat in strict accordance with the Laser Construction Manual,” explained Usher, who said that LPE has unequivocally denied the class their right to access to LPE’s factory. “It’s the same for every class of one-design racing boat: if we can’t be sure that they are all the same, we have no class left,” said Usher, who said that LPE left the class “no option.”

Fortunately for sailors around the world, there are already two other manufacturers of class-legal boats, one in Japan and another in Australia. The Laser class was established in 1972. We recently reported that Olympic organizers were considering eliminating competition in Laser boats.


NAUTICAL TRIVIA

Get this: we learned that there is a Duffel, Belgium, and that’s where the ubiquitous duffle (or duffel) bag gets its name. Apparently, Duffel was once the fount of the coarse, thick, woolen cloth originally used for sturdy coverings aboard ships, the scraps of which sailors used to make bags to carry personal gear, both on aboard and ashore. Now you know.


CONTINUE READING THIS MONTH’S DOGWATCH

Photos by the Singlehander

By Drew Frye

Singlehanded sailing and photography don’t always go together. Throw in some brisk wind, maybe a tender boat, perhaps no autopilot, and capturing the moments and scenes on camera can be a real challenge.

As a freelance writer for magazines, I’m often in need of good photos of specific subjects, and sometimes these photos can be captured only while under sail. Sometimes I’m sailing alone. Sometimes my hands or I need to be in the shot. I’m always thinking of solutions.

The conventional tripod is out of the question while under way. The ubiquitous “selfie stick” limits POV options. And many of the hundreds of clamp-on brackets are either a bit too fussy or won’t grab where I happen to need them to be.

Some years ago, it occurred to me that a winch socket could provide an additional camera mounting point, and so I began watching for a broken winch handle to use as a base, but none came my way. Then I got an idea.

The first test image: me applying carbon/mylar tape to a laminate sail while under way. The camera is secure in a cabin top winch, the self-timer tripped the shutter, and the tiller pilot has the helm

I removed the tilt-pan head from one of my tripods. I cut a small chunk of wood, about 11/16 x 11/16 x 2 inches, and sanded it until it fit snugly in a standard 8-point winch socket. I shaped one end of the block so that it fit into the tripod head (a disc sander or pocket knife will do) and used a wood screw and washer to secure it. That’s it. One option is to varnish the wood chunk, to make it more durable and even to tune the fit.

Using my newest camera mount is as easy as dropping it into a vacant winch socket. It will swivel and tilt in any direction and won’t fall out or fall overboard. If I were worried about the mount coming out of the winch, I could simply noose the camera’s wrist lanyard around the winch. Using the four winches on my Corsair F-24, I can shoot unobstructed in most directions and cover most of the cockpit and deck. I can pop the holder out in a moment for hand shots and plop it right back into the winch. This is easier to do than it is with one of my clamp-on brackets.

Detail of the Mount

The Mk II version may be teak, fiberglass, or even aluminum, but cedar is what I had on hand and it seems adequate so far. I may attach a longer wrist lanyard or add a quick disconnect, but those are just complications to an elegantly simple design. I’m fully satisfied as it is.

For another take on a versatile DIY winch mount, see “Winch Handle Instruments Mount,” in the September 2017 issue of Good Old Boat.

Drew Frye draws on his training as a chemical engineer and pastimes of climbing and sailing when solving boating problems. He cruises Chesapeake Bay and the mid-Atlantic coast in his Corsair F-24 trimaran, Fast and Furry-ous, using its shoal draft to venture into shallow and less-explored waters. His book, Rigging Modern Anchors, was recently published by Seaworthy Publications.


CONTINUE READING THIS MONTH’S DOGWATCH


 

Dogwatch – March 2019

Dogwatch Good Old Boat's Digital SupplementDogwatch (n): For sailors, either of the 2-hour watch periods between 1600 and 2000;

For journalists, the period after going to press when staff stand by in case breaking news warrants a late edition.

Volume 2, No.5

 


Easy Trip to Key West

Easy Trip to Key West

We tend to forget how much GPS, accurate weather forecasting, and modern hull, sail, and communications technologies have improved our ability to get around faster and more safely on the ocean. Oh, and the wisdom that comes to most of us as we leave our 20s behind . . .

In 1974, Judy and I took a sabbatical from work for as long as our savings would last. We left our jobs in Dallas, sold most of our possessions, and began exploring Mexico by train and bus. We were staying on the beach (in hammocks under the palms) on the tiny island of Isla Mujeres when we heard of a young fellow named Troy who was looking for crew to help him sail a boat from Cozumel to Key West, Florida. I’d been sailing most of my life and, as our savings were getting thin, this sounded like a fun and inexpensive way to return to the States after our adventure.

Continue Reading


News from the Helm Mail Buoy

News from the Helm

Across the bar: Margaret Roth and Don Green, BWI awards for Good Old Boat writers, Y2K again, and earn a free Good Old Boat cap.   Continue reading …

Mail Buoy

PFD depiction, sensible low-tech docking, hobo stove revisited, praise for Payne, and readers weigh in on sailboat renting vs. owning.   Continue reading


Seaworthy Goods Holiday Specials on Good Old Boat gear

Put it to the Readers

By Michael Robertson

Department of Corrections: Ahoy! We screwed up, letting a bad link go out last month in this column. Many thanks to the many readers who let us know that the correct URL for the boat-sharing company is boatsetter.com.

winter coverAnd back to our regular programming –

Food tastes better aboard a sailboat, always, right? I don’t care whether it’s an apple, Cheetos (is that food?), or homemade lasagna. And I’ve always known that the reason for this is the salty air. At least, I’ve always known this until Good Old Boat founder Karen Larson spoiled my theory by asserting that food tastes better to her aboard a sailboat in the same way it does me, but she’s a freshwater sailor — no salty air. And I’ve never sailed in freshwater—except 24 hours in Panama’s Lake Gatun, as part of transiting the Canal two decades ago—so I can’t really say that food doesn’t taste better when freshwater sailing.

And so I put it to the readers: Does food always taste better aboard (excepting when you’re experiencing mal de mer)? And why? Is it the salty air, or is Karen right and that’s not it? Or is food, food, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re eating at the kitchen table, in the cockpit, or in the car?

As always, I’m at michael_r@goodoldboat.com


Book Reviews

A Drop n the OceanClick the book title for our reviews of the following books:

Dick Carter: Yacht Designer in the Golden Age of Offshore Racing
by Dick Carter and John Rousmaniere
(Seapoint Books, 2018; 192 pages;
$29.95 print)
Review by Rob Mazza

 

The Accidental Captain: the Hilarious True-Life Adventures Of the Nerd Who Learned To Sail Across the Atlantic – Eventually
by Glenn Patron
(self-published, 2016; 257 pages, soft cover)
Review by Wayne Gagnon


Poem of the Month

Poem March 2019
The author wrote that this poem is an attempt to contrast “my first youthful attempts to actively chase (or pry!) experiences from nature (which doesn’t work), with my later (more mature) approach, of simply going forth and becoming open to experiences at hand, hoping that maybe then Nature and the Sea will reveal things. Maybe.”

I went to the Sea pursuing her nature,
my own was concealed.
I chased her secrets,
only mine did she howl in gales.

She gave test without lesson,
punishment without warning.
The Sea owed me nothing,
and nothing at all!

I went to the Sea asking her nature,
my own she revealed.
She gave reward without end,
beauty without margin.

I awaited her secrets.
she whispered them whole,
without bound. Though still,
the Sea owed me nothing,
and nothing at all!

D. Gene Hoffman, who sails a 1979 Shannon 28 cutter out of Deale, MD. He says that the combination of her curves and her teak make his heart go potato-potato-potato.

MR


Sailor of the Month

Sailor of the Month - Noah

Nine-year-old Noah (he’s since turned 10) is our Dogwatch Sailor of the Month. Noah sails regularly on his grandfather’s Bristol 41.1, Boundless, on Chesapeake Bay. He also sails his own 15-foot Galiliee on the James river. “Noah knows how to steer, dock, and navigate. He’s expert on the chart plotter, knows how to make the various kinds of emergency calls, and stays cool, calm, and collected. He’s helpful crew in high-wind situations.” It’s clear to us from this photo that Noah is a tough-as-nails seaman.

–MR


Cover issue 124 Jan/Feb 2019

Subscribe to Good Old Boat today!

©2019 Good Old Boat Magazine

Easy Trip to Key West

By David Sharp

We tend to forget how much GPS, accurate weather forecasting, and modern hull, sail, and communications technologies have improved our ability to get around faster and more safely on the ocean. Oh, and the wisdom that comes to most of us as we leave our 20s behind . . .

In 1974, Judy and I took a sabbatical from work for as long as our savings would last. We left our jobs in Dallas, sold most of our possessions, and began exploring Mexico by train and bus. We were staying on the beach (in hammocks under the palms) on the tiny island of Isla Mujeres when we heard of a young fellow named Troy who was looking for crew to help him sail a boat from Cozumel to Key West, Florida. I’d been sailing most of my life and, as our savings were getting thin, this sounded like a fun and inexpensive way to return to the States after our adventure.

Continue reading

News from the Helm – March 2019

Across the Bar, Margaret Roth (1922-2019)

Margaret Roth died February 25 in Easton, Maryland. She was the legendary sailing first mate aboard several boats she and her husband, the late Hal Roth, cruised extensively over the years. Hal was a writer who chronicled their adventures in books that still retain a prominent place in any collection of noteworthy sailing literature.

Margaret came to the US from Paris in 1958 and soon met Hal. When they married in 1960, neither knew how to sail, but after sailing with friends on San Francisco Bay, they were hooked. They soon bought their first sailboat, a 36-foot steel sloop.

In 1965, they bought a Spencer 35 and named it Whisper. A year later, they took off to circumnavigate the Pacific. When they returned, the Cruising Club of America awarded them the Blue Water Medal. Hal wrote about their voyage and Margaret typed and edited. Out of this effort was born Two on a Big Ocean, a sailing classic published in 1978.

In 1977, the couple cast off again in Whisper, this time heading south. They were shipwrecked near Cape Horn, rescued after 9 days, and eventually repaired Whisper (she was holed) and continued, up the east coast of the Americas up to Maine. From this adventure, Two Against Cape Horn was published, another bestseller.

A subsequent four-year circumnavigation yielded Always a Distant Anchorage. More books and adventures and awards followed. And through it all, their accomplishments were joint; even when Hal competed in the solo BOC Challenge, Margaret was his indefatigable ground support.

Following is a portion of her obituary as published in The Star Democrat of Easton, Maryland 

“Margaret’s wit, grit, determination and tolerance for discomfort and danger were truly legendary and the characteristics of the perfect first mate. In a passage from Two on a Big OceanWhisper took a hit from a tremendous wave that crashed over the boat and roared into the cockpit. Hal wrote, ‘Margaret with two safety lines around her, was in the cockpit steering. She suddenly found herself up to her armpits in a bathtub of water only 20 degrees above the freezing point. I saw her sputtering and blowing. She calmly began to take off her clothes and to wring them out. It’s your turn to steer,’ she said gamely. ‘I’ve had my bath for today.’”


Across the Bar, Don Green (1932-2019)

Donald M. Green, one of Canada’s most successful offshore sailors and a key figure in its America’s Cup campaigns of the 1980s, has died at the age of 86. He was inducted into the Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame just last August. In 1978, Don won Canada’s Cup with his racing yacht, Evergreen. In 1980, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada, the nation’s most significant civilian honor.

Don grew up sailing and, as a teen, he sailed around the world on Irving Johnson’s 96-foot brigantine Yankee, closing the loop in 1951. In the mid-1970s, Don approached C&C Yachts with the plan to have them design and build a boat he could use to mount a challenge (through the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club) for the 1978 Canada’s Cup. C&C jumped aboard and their young design team led by Rob Ball, and including Steve Killing and Good Old Boat’s own Rob Mazza, designed Evergreen, an IOR Two Tonner of a radical design, with a gybing daggerboard and tiller steering. Don recruited Lowell North to provide sails and to join the crew. The rest of the crew were mainly club sailors from Hamilton, and included a teenager. Don was not just the owner but also the skipper and helmsman, which was very unusual at this level of racing). Evergreen was victorious.

Don next campaigned Evergreen in the notorious 1979 Fastnet Race, in which 15 sailors died. Evergreen did not finish the race, but Don brought her safely back to port with all crew alive and well.

During the 1980s, Don was a part of two Canadian campaigns challenging the America’s Cup, first in 1983, then in 1987


The Dogwatch/Good Old Boat Excellence!

Boating Writers International (BWI) held its annual awards presentation for writers in mid-February and two Good Old Boat magazine and The Dogwatch writers were recognized! Actually, recognized isn’t really the right term as Craig Moodie won FIRST PLACE in the Boating Lifestyles category for his story, “Floating Time.” That’s a $500 prize for Craig. Read it now, on our website: audioseastories.com/floating-time/

And Good Old Boat Contributing Editor Ed Zacko was awarded two Certificates of Merit, one for “Rata of Seville” (Boating Adventures category) and one for “Battling with Ball Valves” (Boat Projects category). These Certificates mean that Ed’s articles were within very narrow margins of the 3rd-place finishers.

Hat’s off to these award-winning Good Old Boat writers!


Y2K All Over Again

Apparently, GPS units and the satellites they receive from, store date info in a funny way. No, not funny ha-ha.

As reported by Ben Stein on the excellent panbo.com website, “The original specification for GPS had dates stored by week in a 10-bit field (2^10 or 2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2) which is 1,024 weeks. 1,024 weeks is 19 years, 36 weeks. Dates for the GPS constellation start at midnight on January 5, 1980, so the first rollover occurred on August 21, 1999. Now, 19 years and 36 weeks later, the same thing will happen again on April 6, 2019.”

So what?

So, some older GPS units may not be able to handle the date rollover, which is coming up quickly. Especially if you have older equipment, you’d be wise to check your unit sometime after April 6 to make sure it’s accurate, before you rely on it.

For specific info, check out the website of the manufacturer of your GPS device.


WANT TO EARN A GOOD OLD BOAT HAT?

Khaki ball cap with a Blue Denim bill.Do you have a great photo of an aid to navigation? We want to see it. If we print it in the magazine, we’ll send you a Good Old Boat hat or shirt, your choice. And it doesn’t have to be a buoy, but certainly can be. The better the photo, or the more unique the aid or photo, the better your chances. Send your photo to Michael_r@goodoldboat.com


CONTINUE READING THIS MONTH’S DOGWATCH

Mail Buoy – March 2019

THUMBS UP FOR SHOWING PFD USE

Glad to see you’ve got a photo of a kid with a PFD on. Last year’s discussion on this topic was unnerving for me, and I was quite disappointed that some on your end defended the use of photos showing children without them.

–Rob Hill, Westport, Massachusetts

Hi Rob, we featured two photos of kids wearing PFDs in the February issue of The Dogwatch. At the risk of unnerving you again, this was not by design, but by chance. While we know that some kids (and adults) should be in life vests 100 percent of the time in some situations (the photo above is a pretty good example of such a situation, given the age of the kid and the absence of lifeline netting), our editorial policy is to not be absolute about it, but consider photos on a case-by-case basis. We’re happy to promote the wearing of PFDs (for kids and adults), but there are situations where a kid is okay not wearing a PFD aboard. There are too many factors to make an edict (factors including swimming ability of kid, conditions, water temperature, boat size). We would balk at publishing a photo of a kid who appeared to be recklessly unprotected, but we’re not going to say “no photos of kids not wearing PFDs.”  Eds.


DOCKING SENSE

I read your tongue-in-cheek mention of Raymarine’s newest product, DockSense, in the February issue of The Dogwatch. I singlehand my five-ton, high-freeboard Nonsuch 26 sailboat in and out of a crosswind slip. There’s major downwind drift if I go in too slow, too much momentum if I go in fast enough for the keel to bite, and a firm guarantee that the stern will pull 45 degrees hard to starboard if I put too much thrust in reverse. Accordingly, I have the dings to prove that Raymarine is right; docking mishaps happen even to experienced sailors. But considering what Raymarine’s solution probably costs, I’d still save money by just buying a duplicate boat, putting it in a slip facing a different direction, and sailing whichever one has the more favorable wind that day.

Ironically, your mention of Raymarine’s solution arrived just as I completed my solution (see photo). What you’re looking at is an 8-foot piece of scrap wood to which I screwed three rows of 1.5-inch fire hose scalloped into wave patterns. I used 48 feet of fire hose out of a 95-foot roll that I bought at RepurposedMaterialsInc.com/ for $60, shipping included. I used 98 1-inch hex-head screws out of a $9.75 pack of 100 from boltdropper.com. Total cost: about $50. Of course, this doesn’t include the value of my time and labor. If I add that in, the total comes to about . . . $50. (I’m retired.)

My plan is to just let the boat hit the bumper as I come in, then slide along it. My expectation is that the fire hose will provide both cushioning and low-friction sliding and won’t gouge the hull. I have high hopes.

Bob Neches

Bob, nice work. We’ll add that we’ve twice picked up used fire hose for free (to use aboard as chafe protection, mostly on anchor rode snubbers). In both cases, we could have taken all we wanted. Next time you’re ready for more, just visit a local fire station. We were successful at two California stations: the Woodacre Fire Station in Marin County and the Camarillo Airport Fire Station.  Eds.


ONE MORE SHOUTOUT TO THE DIY BOATYARD

I just read “In Praise of the DIY Boatyard,” (The Dogwatch, February 2018). Attention DIY boaters in Southern California: I bought a classic plastic Catalina 30, Silhouette, last summer and I needed a place to put her where I could pull the dead gas motor and install an electric motor. Easier said than done. Private marinas don’t like noisy repair work and the few boatyards still open are expensive. But I prevailed. If you’re in the Wilmington/Long Beach area, contact Steve Curren at Long Beach Yacht Center (cayachtco.com/). He rents slips by the month and allows DIY boat owners like me to make repairs while the boat’s in the water.

Doug Mears


HOBO STOVE 2.0

I wanted to share an update I’ve made to the hobo stove. Instead of holes on the bottom to allow fresh air to enter and fuel a solid-fuel fire, here I’ve left the bottom sealed. I pour stove alcohol into the can, light it, and allow it to burn a few moments before I set a pan on the can for cooking. I have only played with this version, but I see it as a viable (and cleaner) camp/cookout burner.

–Jim Shell, Good Old Boat contributor

Readers, to revisit the article describing Jim’s handy cooker (great for outdoor marina potlucks or shoreside cooking while at anchor), use this link: audioseastories.com/shoreside-cooking-hack/  Eds.


PRAISE FOR PAYNE

Wedding VowsI just received the latest edition of The Dogwatch and aside from everything else, I want to commend the cartoonist who drew the boat-wedding graphic. Well done indeed. Who is the talented individual? Do they have a website of their work?

–John Gilbert, Cone From Away, a 1979 Aloha 28, Owen Sound, Ontario

Tom Payne is the talented illustrator (and we were remiss in not making that credit clear, as we usually do in the print magazine). Tom’s great and has worked with Good Old Boat for many years. He’s also worked with SAIL and others. But that work is just a footnote in his extensive portfolio of clients. To learn more about Tom and his work, check out payneillustration.com. I’ll note that for this piece, we simply sent Tom instructions along the lines of “We need a female captain officiating a wedding on the deck of a good old boat.” We particularly love the tear from the older woman on deck, and the ring bearer in a life vest. Check out the March issue of Good Old Boat for more of Tom’s work, and also visit Tom’s comic site: sandsharkbeach.comEds.


AIRBNB FOR SAILBOATS?

Last month I put it to the readers about boat-sharing services. I asked whether any of you had used these services and whether you thought millenials would go the path of renting sailboats vs. owning sailboats. Will this model take-off and result in more people out on the water, people who want to sail but who don’t want to own a sailboat?

Reader Isaiah Laderman made the consensus point in the last sentence of his response. He did it so clearly and succinctly, with a perfect metaphor, that he gets the first word . . . Eds.

***

My parents rented a dinghy when I was pre-teen. I doubt I would be a sailor today if they hadn’t. But I think the liability of injury, and likelihood of dissent over breakage and wear-and-tear, should give private lessors pause. Also, simply sailing a boat misses the spectrum of experience of owning and maintaining boats, which is surely the more important part. Just as having kids is more important than talking to one occasionally.

Isaiah Laderman, Molto Tortissimo, a Sea Sprite 23

Interesting question on the increasing ways of getting out on a sailboat. I doubt that I would ever give up the “luxury” of boat ownership, but then I probably spend far more time aboard than the average coastal sailor. For me, it’s not only about being out on the water, but also about performing routine maintenance in port. For the years I was between boats, I traded sailing time for maintenance work on a variety of sailboats. Although the sailing and the destinations were the same, the pride of ownership wasn’t there and I missed the comfort of knowing every nuance of the boat. I’ve long been of the mind that being on the water should be an experience of independence, an experience grounded in a very limited expectation of outside assistance. Sailing an unknown boat increases the likelihood that I will be dependent on those resources.

In our part of the world, charter companies are generally reputable organizations with modern well-maintained boats. There are also boat owners that charter their personal boats. Some are good, some not so good. The introduction of an Airbnb-style marine industry would certainly widen choices for those seeking adventure on the water. However, the quality of the boat and knowledge/experience of the skipper would, in my opinion, require significant regulation to prevent chaos on the water during peak season. Unfortunately, such an industry would not do well under self-regulation, the quest for profit would outweigh responsible boat usage. A visit to a local boat repair facility demonstrates that even local boat owners have difficulty staying away from rocks and shoals in our turbulent currents. It’s one thing to “rent” a boat in a small, local lake; quite another to be out on the ocean dealing with tides, currents, and large commercial traffic. Insurance for our boat has gone up significantly this year, apparently due to ever-increasing claims. That can only get worse with the introduction of more ad-hoc charter facilities. I want more people to enjoy the freedom of being out on the water, particularly young people, but that freedom requires knowledge and responsibility. Somehow, I don’t think an Airbnb-style marine industry is the safest or the most responsible way of accomplishing this.

Bert Vermeer, Natasha, Sidney BC

At the American International Yacht Club Berlin, there were about 35 boats we could rent. Costs ranged from 50 cents an hour for a dinghy, to a dollar for Solings, Dragons, and others. It was an inexpensive way to go sailing and served me well until I was able to buy my own boat. The boats were maintained by the harbor staff, but those who took them out were sometimes less careful of them than if they were their own property.

Hal Shanafield, Hjalmar III, Pearson 32

I’m not certain which is the more likely forecast, that emerging generations will rent rather than own and therefore the rental market will boom, or that the number of people who know how to sail will shrink and bring down both the ownership and rental markets.

–Sam Goldblatt

I want to know my boat. I want to know how the radio works, where the PFDs are, whether the rigging is intact and durable, how to manage the engine, where the tools are, how to turn the lights on, where the horn is, where the through-hulls are located, and how the boat reacts to winds, seas, and my actions in steering and sail trimming. If I need an extra clevis pin, where are they (and are they there?). If I think it’s time to don a harness, where is it, and its tether? If I need to drop anchor right now, is it secured to the rode? (Don’t laugh, this is the voice of sad experience speaking).

My point is that boats are like underwear; they’re not easy to share successfully. It’s fun to sail on other people’s boats, but it’s not the same as sailing on my own. I always feel like a neophyte on other people’s boats. “Get the boathook!” and I think, gee where is it? “Turn on the spreader lights!” Darn, where’s that panel? “Ease the topping lift!” @#$*!!!, which cleat is it belayed on? On my boats, I know where things are. I know how the boat behaves. I know what can be relied on, what’s shaky, and what’s not working.

And for a guy who’s not generally obsessed with order, my boats are the places where everything has its place. Important stuff is where it’s supposed to be, and I never need to conduct a search to locate it. In fact, finding stuff is a big headache when sailing as crew aboard a local historic schooner. Knowing what stuff is aboard that boat, and where that stuff is, is a constant challenge because everybody decides where to leave the wrench or the seizing twine.

Maybe if I went sailing as infrequently as I go bowling, renting or sharing would make sense. But I sail a lot and I’d rather not face a steep learning curve each time.

Besides, my boats are my old friends. I’ve sailed one for 51 seasons so far and another for 20. I’ve spent many hours working on each boat and that makes for a sort of investment that goes beyond dollars.

Chris Campbell, Traverse City, Michigan

My sailing mentor, who resides in Virginia, lives by the philosophy, “If it floats or flies, rent it.” While he and I, who are both in our mid-70s, along with our better halves, have spent many a happy hour on bareboat charters in the Caribbean, I reside on the Left Coast, where it is possible to sail every month of the year. I prefer to own my sailboat, which presently is the 1980 Newport 30, Erewhon, a good old boat of Gary Mull design from the mid-70s. Not only has she provided a near-perfect venue for maritime outings throughout the San Francisco Bay area with family and friends over the past three years that we’ve owned her, she is also the perfect man cave, the place to hang out when I need relief from the madding crowd. I think the best sail plan for me is to sail my own boat locally and rent when I wish to explore distant waters that can best be reached at 550 mph in a jetliner.

Bill Crowley, Glen Cove Marina, Vallejo, California

[In weighing and considering the monetary cost of boat ownership to make] a judgment in this regard, do not count only the hours you are sailing your boat, include the hours that you spend thinking of your boat.

–John Davies

John, great point, and it reminds us of Don Davies’ (we presume no relation) great article, “The Cost of Sailing,” that was published in the June 2018 issue of The Dogwatch. For anyone who missed it the first time: https://audioseastories.com/fs_cost_june18/  –Eds

My wife and I are the sort-of in-between generation, not fitting in with genX and just at the beginning of the generally-accepted range for millennials. We started off buying boatloads (hah) of music CDs and purchased our movies and video games on DVDs. We own our home and ground-based transportation. Over the past 15 years or so, we migrated first to buying music through services like iTunes, and now generally consume our music via streaming services. We read a lot, and while we both use electronic readers, we also both prefer to buy a lot of our books in paper form. So, we’ve been a little mixed in our approach to these things, changing our access methods as the technology grows and becomes accessible.

When the sailing bug bit, we had a Flying Scot dinghy for a time, later moving on to a Hobie Getaway beach cat that we’ve sailed for the past few years. In December we became owners of our first (and quite possibly our only) cruising sailboat, in the form of a Ted Brewer-designed Jason 35.

Several nearby state parks offer kayak rentals, but renting requires that we fit into the rental concession’s schedule. When we go bike riding, we like to make a day of it, and enjoy stopping along the trails to have a snack, watch nature, or just relax in a shady spot. We want the same flexibility when kayaking, so we bought. Our kayaks were not inexpensive, but within the first two years of owning them we probably saved what we paid for them in funds that didn’t go to rentals.

Nobody in our area (to our knowledge) offers sailboat rentals, and that’s what led to us buying the aging but capable Flying Scot. The state park dry moorings are inexpensive, and total cost of ownership was low. Our recent move to a cruising sailboat is a big jump in TCO (total cost of ownership), but we expect to make even more use of it than we did of our little beach cat. In a way, it will be to us like a floating summer cabin, where we plan to spend many weekends over the boating season sailing, kayaking, biking, and sometimes just enjoying a good book and a rainstorm from the comfort of the saloon.

Would that be possible if we were renting a boat? Perhaps, but it wouldn’t have the same character. If we were renting a boat, we would feel more obligated to go somewhere on it while we were paying for it, which could lead to making poor decisions with regard to weather. Would we rent it for a weekend that was supposed to be rainy and chilly with little useful wind? Maybe not. That, however, might not even be a choice, as we probably would have had to rent it well in advance to get it for a weekend anyway.

Would rental programs help more people to get on the water in our area? I suppose for the right people. Had there been a rental option in our area when I was first getting started, I might have made use of it before making the decision to buy, but I still think I would prefer to own boats instead of renting them.

In the end, I’m not at all sorry that we’re owners. Like with our home, I look forward to the projects to improve her, make her our own, and keep her up in a condition that I hope will make her builder proud. My wife and I look forward to spending quality time on the Jason 35, enjoying the sailing, the water, and the reading. Some of those goals would not be a consideration if we were renting when we wanted to be out on the water. Ownership isn’t for every sailor, but I think it adds a richness to the experience that is hard to match.

Jonathan Woytek

 

 


CONTINUE READING THIS MONTH’S DOGWATCH

Dick Carter: Yacht Designer in the Golden Age of Offshore Racing

by Dick Carter and John Rousmaniere
(Seapoint Books, 2018; 192 pages; $29.95 print)

Review by Robb Mazza

Over the past several years, the sailing community has been blessed with the publication of several excellent biographies of prominent yacht designers, including those of L. Francis Herreshoff by Roger Taylor, Starling Burgess by Louie Howland, Ray Hunt by Stan Grayson, and GL Watson by Martin Black. However, there have been few autobiographies, other than perhaps Olin Stephens’ excellent All This and Sailing Too. So it is gratifying to read Dick Carter’s first-person-singular narrative of his own remarkable design career during the surge in offshore racing in the 1960s and 70s. Carter says the genesis of this book was his need to dispel the persistent rumor that he died five years ago!

Continue reading

The Accidental Captain: the Hilarious True-Life Adventures Of the Nerd Who Learned To Sail Across the Atlantic – Eventually

by Glenn Patron
(self-published, 2016; 257 pages, soft cover).

Review by Wayne Gagnon

Glen Patron was born, as he says, “on the wrong side of the docks,” and grew up on Great Neck, on Long Island, New York. As a young boy, Glen developed a love for all literature that had anything to do with adventure. In this book, he chronicles his life and some adventures of his own. And he’s had his fair share. He spent his early adult years wandering around Mexico as a (kind of) student who couldn’t, or wouldn’t, live up to his father’s expectations. When he finally settled down enough to work for his father, he started “at the bottom,” as a stock boy, but learned enough about business to eventually take over and revive a failed company in Puerto Rico. But while Glen attained success as a businessman, he also pursued lives as an entertainer in local nightclubs and on TV, as a dirt bike racer, and eventually as a sailor. There’s a lot more to that story. I touched on the highlights only to illustrate the author’s diverse background, one that sets him up for a life worth writing about.

Continue reading

News from the Helm – February 2019

CONSIDER BUYING USED

Buying new often makes sense. But when you’re in the market for a boat part, take a minute to consider whether that part is likely to be found used at a consignment or surplus store.

I remember each year carpooling down to Minney’s Yacht Surplus in Southern California for their annual parking-lot swap meet. It was an event. We’d wake excited and arrive before sunrise to find hundreds of people already doing business, flashlights in hand.

Recently the owner of Second Wave at the Boatyard, a consignment store in Gig Harbor, Washington, contacted me and reminded me of the greatness of these resources — and they’re everywhere there’s a concentration of boats. Many independent chandlers even dedicate a small part of their store to used boat stuff, usually items on consignment.

The savings are often spectacular for these “experienced” parts. So, when you’re in need of something that’s likely to be available used, take a minute to take a look. Besides, many of these stores look like the artful rendering of the Minney’s store above, the kind of place in which you’re liable to find that exactly perfect thing you weren’t looking for.


A REMINDER FROM THE FOUNDER

When Good Old Boat founder Karen Larson read the reader feedback in the December issue of The Dogwatch, she was reminded of a story we ran in Good Old Boat in July 2013, by Ferman Wardell. In that story, Ferman describes how he designed and built his own bottom-cleaning-from-the-dock device. Here’s a link to that story for The Dogwatch readers: Homemade Bottom Cleaner by Ferman Wardell

Enjoy!


MAGNETIC NORTH AND THE U.S. GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

As most of us are aware, true north and magnetic north aren’t in the same place. And as most of us are also aware, magnetic north is constantly on the move, geographically, subject to the flows of liquid iron in the Earth’s core. And to keep up with calibrations of navigational instruments and mathematical formulas that need to sync with this changing magnetic north, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the British Geological Survey long ago teamed up to develop the World Magnetic Model. They update the model every five years to keep everything accurate. It was last updated in 2015.

However, the speed at which magnetic north is changing has sped up dramatically (nobody really knows why). In the 1950s, it moved about 100 feet per day, about 7 miles per year, but in the 1990s the pace quickened. By 2003, it was moving nearly 500 feet per day, about 34 miles per year. It hasn’t slowed.

Accordingly, the two governments came together a couple of years early to update the model, for the sake of accurate navigation, especially in the latitudes above 50 degrees north. And before they could finalize and release that info, the US government shut down.

But the good news is that the updated model was released February 4, much to the relief of NATO and the US Department of Defense, primary users of the model (along with scientists who study what happens deep beneath our feet, and keels).

For more information, including fascinating stuff we didn’t report here, read the full story on the National Geographic website: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/02/magnetic-north-update-navigation-maps/


HAS IT REALLY COME TO THIS?

Raymarine describes the imperative for its newest product, DockSense, as such:

“Docking a boat can be a stressful experience, even for the most experienced captains. Often wind and tides make the task more difficult, and docking mishaps can become expensive repairs and safety hazards. The DockSense system is designed to augment a captain’s boat handling skills using the system’s Virtual Bumper zone technology around the vessel. Should an object like a piling or another vessel encounter the Virtual Bumper, DockSense automatically introduces corrective steering and throttle commands to avoid the object and assist the captain in guiding the vessel to the dock.”

Raymarine describes their newest product, DockSense, as such:

“DockSense uses global positioning system (GPS) and attitude heading reference system (AHRS) position sensing technology to compensate for the effects of wind and currents, ensuring the vessel enters the dock without drama or costly collisions. The Raymarine DockSense system includes multiple FLIR machine vision cameras, a central processing module, and the DockSense App running on Raymarine’s Axiom navigation display.  The system integrates with modern joystick propulsion systems, providing assisted steering and throttle commands to help captains make a smooth arrival.”

At the risk of sounding like a grouchy old man with the mouth of a teenager: Whatever . . .


WANT TO EARN A GOOD OLD BOAT HAT?

Khaki ball cap with a Blue Denim bill.Do you have a great photo of an aid to navigation? We want to see it. If we print it in the magazine, we’ll send you a Good Old Boat hat or shirt, your choice. And it doesn’t have to be a buoy, but certainly can be. The better the photo, or the more unique the aid or photo, the better your chances. Send your photo to Michael_r@goodoldboat.com


CONTINUE READING THIS MONTH’S DOGWATCH

Mail Buoy – February 2019

IN PRAISE OF THE DIY BOATYARD

Last month I put it to the readers about DIY boatyards. Do you prefer these yards? Are you willing to pay more in lay-day rates to use a DIY yard? Do you have a favorite DIY yard? It wasn’t a very divisive question because everyone seems to love DIY boatyards, and several of you gave a shout-out to your favorite. As an illustration last month, I used the graphic of one of my favorite DIY yards,  Ventura Harbor Boatyard (in Southern California). Reader Wayne Wright had something to say about Ventura Harbor Boatyard, so he gets the first word . . .

Continue reading

A Drop in the Ocean

by Jasna Tuta
(Independently Published, 2018; 192 pages; $12.00 print, $5.99 digital)

Review by Karen Larson

Jasna Tuta and her partner, Rick Page, are self-described sea gypsies, members of the water tribe who cruise the world’s oceans. Their first book, Get Real, Get Gone: How to Become a Modern Sea Gypsy and Sail Away Forever, describes how they adopted the cruising lifestyle, what liveaboard techniques work for them, what you must have, what you can do without, and what to look for when buying a boat for your own cruising adventure. Get Real, Get Gone is a liveaboard how-to book and a good one.

Continue reading

The Impractical Boat Owner

by Dave Selby
(Adlard Coles, 2017; 112 pages, $14.00 print)

Review by Tom Wells

When I started reading this humorous take on boating and boaters, I expected more of the usual, but Dave Selby has a new and refreshing approach to the genre. The description on Amazon says a lot: “It is a book with no practical purpose whatsoever. It won’t make you a better sailor, and it won’t provide any instructions on boat maintenance. But it will entertain: Selby’s light but observational writings tap the rich well of all those things that sailors know but few dare admit.” As he did with the title on the cover, Selby has scrawled additions to headings throughout the book. This device reflects his tone, evidence of his dry and self-deprecating humor. All and all, it makes for a very enjoyable read.

Continue reading

Dogwatch – February 2019

 

Dogwatch Good Old Boat's Digital SupplementDogwatch (n): For sailors, either of the 2-hour watch periods between 1600 and 2000;
For journalists, the period after going to press when staff stand by in case breaking news warrants a late edition.
Volume 2, No. 4


Nautical Vows

Wedding Vows

Asked to officiate at the wedding of sailing friends in the Caribbean, Captain Gilmore also wrote their vows…
CAPTAIN GILMORE: We are gathered here today before this beautiful sunset and in this community of faithful crewmembers to join in holy matrimony <bride’s name> and <groom’s name>, steadfast sailors and seafaring adventurers.
If anyone knows of any reason that these two should not be joined in marriage, speak now or forever hold your peace.
Without further ado and before either of the parties can come to their senses, we will proceed with this holy and everlasting sacrament.
Continue Reading


News from the Helm Mail Buoy

News from the Helm

Consider buying used, a DIY bottom-cleaning tool, magnetic north and the US government shutdown, Raymarine goes over the top. Continue reading …

Mail Buoy

In praise of the DIY boatyard, readers weigh in on the benefits of the DIY yard and tell us about their favorites.
Continue reading


Seaworthy Goods Holiday Specials on Good Old Boat gear

Put it to the Readers

winter cover

By Michael Robertson

We’re told that Millennials don’t buy stuff, they rent. Instead of a Ford in the garage, they keep an Uber app on their smartphone. Instead of a shelf lined with CDs, they pay a monthly fee to stream the music they want to listen to. Will it be the same with boats?

For those of us who take pride and pleasure in maintaining and improving and messing about in boats we own, it’s a foreign concept. But for those of us who have ever figured out the sobering cost-per-hour-used figure for the boat we own, maybe there is something to renting.

Boatsetter.com is a worldwide, peer-to-peer boat-sharing site that reminds us of Airbnb. There are smaller regional sites that operate the same way, and membership-based companies exist that own and maintain fleets of boats for members to use on a cost-per-hour basis. In other words, there are lots of ways to get out on the water under sail without owning a boat.

And so I put it to the readers: Have you used one of these avenues to get out on the water? Has it, or will it, replace boat ownership for you? Or do you place a high value on walking down the dock to your boat, a nautical refuge all your own? Do you think the future will look very different in this regard, with boat ownership becoming less common? Or will ownership rates be unaffected, but more people will find a way out onto the water via peer-to-peer boat sharing?

As always, I’m at michael_r@goodoldboat.com


Book Reviews

A Drop in the OceanClick the book title for our reviews of the following books:
A Drop in the Ocean
by Jasna Tuta
(Independently Published, 2018; 192 pages;
$12.00 print, $5.99 digital)
Review by Karen LarsonThe Impractical Boat Owner
by Dave Selby
(Adlard Coles, 2017; 112 pages,
$14.00 print)
Review by Tom Wells

Poem of the Month

Terns for the Verse

Fun to watch them fly and frolic
stunts and airs and high-speed swoops,
but oh it renders me melancholic
to see my boat all covered in poops.
I hung up foils and owls and snakes
stood on the deck and waved my arms.
I thought I’d done all that it takes
everything but install alarms.
And yet each day I sadly view
Tern poops, tern poops, anew,
Tern poops, tern poops…residue.

Richard Green, Pacific Northwest sailor and owner (and part builder) of countless sailboats over his lifetime, including the pictured Jay Benford-designed 22-foot sloop he launched in 1980 after machining all the bronze fittings himself.

Have you written a sailing poem (or haiku or bawdy limerick) you want to share with Dogwatch readers? Send it to Michael_r@goodoldboat.com and it might wind up here.

MR


Sailor of the Month

Sailor of the Month - Avery

Five-year-old Ethan is our Dogwatch Sailor of the Month. Seconds before Ethan’s grandparent snapped this shot, Ethan was asked if he knew where he was going. This day was Ethan’s first time at the helm of Canigo Too, a 1982 Catalina 30.

–MR

 

 

Magnetic North: Sea Voyage to Svalbard

Magnetic North: Sea Voyage to Svalbard, by Jenna Butler

by Jenna Butler
(The University of Alberta Press, 2018; 120 pages, $19.95 print, $18.95 digital)

Review by Wendy Mitman Clarke

“I feel my body gone glass, emptying and refilling with Arctic swell. Darkness and safety a trick of the mind, as distant as the long, light fields of home.”

So writes Jenna Butler in Magnetic North: Sea Voyage to Svalbard, a collection of prose poems that reads like a hybrid memoir of short essay and prose poem describing her two-week journey as a writer-in-residence aboard the ice-class barquentine Antigua with Arctic Circle Expeditions. Each year, the organization invites a small group of scientists and artists to travel through the waters and fjords of Svalbard, an Arctic archipelago within 10 degrees latitude of the North Pole.

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